Thursday, 4 October 2012

31 Days Of Horror - Day 4: The Burning (1981)

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A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an up-state New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Like many Horror fans my obsession started with the Slasher genre and after watching the "Friday The 13th" films a friend suggested that If I enjoyed them I should watch this.


The film does have a stigma of being a "Friday The 13th" rip off but Harvey Weinstein claims that he actually wrote this film before the release of "Friday The 13th". I think it's fair to say that most films set in the woods will always be compared that franchise but if theirs one that deserves to get as much recognition it's this film.

This film was actually the feature film debut of 3 stars - Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter, many stars of film and TV started out in Horror films but it's rare you get 3 in the same film, especially an original nasty (This film was one of the first movies to land on the UK's Video Nasties list, specifically because of the infamous raft massacre).


The effects in the film are amazingly done but that's no surprise when you have Tom Savini on board, he actually turned down "Friday The 13th Part 2" to work on this. You know when he's doing his effects that it'll be a big talking point of the film and there's no doubting his talent, the guys use of gore never ceases to amaze me.

Now lets talk about our killer, 'Cropsy'. I think the guy is such an under-rated villain, he has one of those "I want to look away but I'm too intrigued" faces which always gets me, plus I've never looked at a pair of garden sheers the same. There has been talk of a remake over the last few years and I hope it doesn't happen, this version is a cult classic and one of those films that I doubt can be bettered.


"The Burning" is one of the best 80's Slashers, it's way above the average mark most of them hit. It ticks all the boxes of what you want to see from this type of film such as gore, nudity and a deranged killer hell bent on revenge. If you want to give it a viewing make sure you get the uncut version, it's so much better.

If you want to see "The Burning" trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Many people claim that there was an early appearance by Laurence Fishburne, as the hospital orderly whose arm is grabbed by Cropsy's horrifically burnt hand just before the opening title sequence. This actor was actually Mansoor Najeeullah

This is the film that launched the careers of acclaimed producers Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. Their mother Miriam Weinstein is also a pre-production assistant on the film.

Larry Joshua is actually older than the two main counselors.

Actors had trouble holding up the garden sheers to the liking of director Tony Maylam, so in a lot of the scenes in which costumed Cropsy kills (most notably the infamous raft scene), he played the killer himself.

The wardrobe of the film is vastly the actual wardrobe of the cast. There was rarely a costume-person on set.

The concept of the film (originally scripted as "The Cropsy Maniac") is based on a campfire story told at summer camps in and around New Jersey and upstate New York. The story is still in circulation.

The shot of Cropsy's legs kicking wildly in the fire was actually portrayed by Tom Savini.

To create Cropsy's distorted POV shots, the cinematographer rubbed Vaseline on the outside edges of the camera lens.

It was director Tony Maylam who chose garden shears as Cropsy's weapon of choice.

Most of the night scenes in the woods were shot day-for-night. The only exception are the campfire scenes which actually were shot at night.

Director Tony Maylam said there was much more footage shot of the Cropsy killer for the film but he decided to cut back coverage on the killer to keep Cropsy more frightening on screen.

According to Tom Savini it took three days to create the Cropsy monster.


According to director Tony Maylam the reason the film's finale didn't take place in a cave, as it was originally supposed to, was due to the fact that the cave where it was going to be shot was full of bats. Tom Savini also said another cave that was scouted for the film collapsed just after it had been surveyed.

Director Tony Maylam said there was so much dust in the copper mine where the film's finale was shot that he was still coughing it up several weeks after completing the shoot.

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